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Megge of Bury Down

Rebecca Kightlinger

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Zumaya Arcane

Published : 2018

Copyright : Rebecca Kightlinger 2018

ISBN-10 : PB 1-61271-347-5
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-61271-347-2

Publisher's Write-Up

In 13th-century Cornwall, on a sheep farm in the shadow of Bury Down - known for a thousand years as the land of the second sight - a healer has vowed to face flames rather than fail in her one task in this life: to bring her young daughter to vow to protect The Book of Seasons, an ancient grimoire whose power sustains the spirits of their ancestors.

On the night of her vow-taking, wanting only to become a woman of Bury Down like her mother and aunts, and drawn by an inexplicable yearning to possess her mother's book, Megge reaches for it. But when she touches its cover, it burns her fingers and she hears a whisper. Murderer!

Although the book is her legacy, she refuses to touch it again. If she does, she is certain she will be the death of those she loves.

To what lengths will Megge's mother go to help the child find the courage to take that vow? And how far will Megge go to elude a terrifying destiny?

But seven years later, events conspire to force her to once again to accept her responsibility. If she refuses to take up the task, who will ensure the Book’s ancient wisdom survives, safe from the hands of those who would use it for evil?

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Molly Martin (311218) Rating (9/10)

Review by Molly Martin
Book Source: Publisher
Rating 9/10

Rebecca Kightlinger’s Megge of Bury Down initiates with a Prologue, the time is 372 CE, location; Kernow, Britain.

Anwen considers the thuds of picks and shovels. It is too late in the season for planting. What can they hope to achieve here in Kernow.

Murga, who is sitting on a fallen log, in the dusky murk, look to be a diminutive, lump of a woman. Anwen has never met Murga before, she knows Murga’s voice; a dream has brought Anwen to this place. Unexpectedly peril appears in the gloom. Murga is held at a stake, Anwen watches as a woman carrying a torch approaches.

The time is now 1275 in Bury Down, Cornwall, for Megge who is just turning six the time has come for her to take up The Book of Seasons. It is her mother’s historic book of Knowledge apropos the physical world. In the spring Megge’s cousin Brighida too will be six, she will open The Book of Time. Mother has strode ahead as Morwen guides the little girl over the rock wall and down into the Bury Down Circle.

It will be the duty for one of the girls to safeguard these sacred books and to guide them from one life into the next. Megge heard the tome call her name, and then as she reached toward it, came a single word, murderer. Megge is too alarmed to open the tome.

The narrative moves from this launch; on to May 1, 1280, it is Brighida’s tenth birth day, plus, in the village it is a celebratory day. Spring has come. Megge stands separately, observing, as Brighida along with a group of girls from the village, twirl around the maypole to a melody played by a piper. The jollity continues until, nearing nightfall, Megge discovers a battered woman and Megge quickly aids her mother as mother finalizes curative procedures as revealed in The Book of Seasons for the comrade and neighbour who has been seriously pierced by a wild boar.

If Megge will only open, her mother’s book; Megge also will develop skills as a healer.

Megge learns, as an alternative, to shear the sheep. On market day Megge brings a sack of wool she has sheared herself; she receives her first earned coin as payment. And, once more helps her mother as Mother takes care of the now decaying wound caused by the boar. Megge has what her cousin calls a moment in spirit. It is a memory perchance of another time.

One more occasion to assist her mother with a healing arrives when the carter transports his son Harold to the cottage in the back of his cart. Harold has an arrow has pierced right through his leg.

Mother creates with Megge’s help before presenting an amulet for her daughter, it is designed to bring Megge pluck.

The time is now Nov 16, 1282 CE Megge is 13, she discovers the situation surrounding the birth of her mother and Mother’s twin, Aunt Claris. This is when Megge discovers that her mother was not given a name that can be said, she is Mother, and Sister, Daughter and Aunt. It is a time too that, Megge dejectedly says goodbye forever to her idolized Morwen who is lifeless due to age and ill health and to Aleydis as well who has perished from heartache.

The Spring 1283 Megge is now herder and is not a healer, in addition, she will become a weaver. The loom is now mended and during Summer 1284 Megge is learning to weave. The village Blackfriars have gained a new abbot, he is hunting and burning heretics. His dictum is ‘only the clergy may heal’, healers are now categorized as heretics.

Worrying times have come to Bury Down.

Megge of Bury Down, is an anecdote regarding the facing up to tough certainties of consideration, self-examination, and accepting the authenticity of the result.

Upon hearing the sinister murder seemingly uttered by the tome, when Megge was age six, is the Megge who at age eleven, remains as terrified; all she can do is watch as her cousin, Brighida, apparently is becoming everything Megge is not. Despite feeling herself to be somewhat of an outcast, even amongst those of her own household, nevertheless Megge continues to refrain from having to open The Book of Seasons.

I find the innovative chronicle offers the reader an indication of how life during the 1200s might have taken place as Megge deals with social beliefs, unfamiliarity and fallacies of the time.

Writer Kightlinger extends a story line occupied with spirals and turns, enigmas and misconceptions centring in the villagers while coupled with suspicion and apprehension rooted in both the spiritual and otherworldly. The unusual detestation the villagers display toward Jenifer Pennick and her mother, accompanied by the sweeping oppression practiced by church leadership during the time, are outlined by the author through subtle dissimilarity found in the choice of words and apprehension always existing, all offered, as seen by Megge through her own immaturity, torment, and naivety.

Megge’s guardians, Mother, Aunt Claris, Aleydis and Morwen, frequently seem at times to be oddly at variance concerning how much and what to tell Megge about The Book of Seasons and her obligation regarding it based on her somewhat intricate family history.

“Margaret it is time for you to take up your book.”

Megge of Bury Down is chockfull with the matrilineal antiquity of mysteries passed down by multifaceted, affectionate women, allows readers a little flavour of antiquity, touched by magical and misinterpretation.

Writer Kightlinger offers a delightfully rounded collection of judiciously fashioned character dispositions. Studied pressure presents assures readers will continue turning the pages of this energetic account in which the coming of age of Megge of Bury Down simplifies through the insightful writing of Kightlinger.

What an interesting Read, happy to recommend Megge of Bury Down, Vol 1 of The Bury Down Chronicles, for strong readers in upper middle grades, high school and adult readers who enjoy the fantasy genre. Book is a good choice for school and public libraries as well as for gifting a special niece or other reader of historical fiction.
Molly Martin (31st December 2018)

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